Becoming soldiers in a different kind of war, troops of the 302nd Infantry Brigade adopts a new kind of shooting skills.
At least 28 officers and men of the 302ndInfBde joined the skills enhancement in shooting, not with their rifles to neutralize the enemy, but with the camera, to put in more good news in these times when most you see in the newspapers are the trivial and non-inspiring.
Since Bohol was declared insurgency free in 2010, the soldiers left her in Bohol shifted to a new kind of battle: that of helping communities rise from the cowering fear with the trauma of war and the government services that came but only in trickles.
Instead of wielding rifles, the soldiers picked on shovels and spades to repair impassable barangay roads, dangerous sections of trails and put up culverts to address flooding and the eventual rutting of the roads making them tough to maneuver by vehicles.
In some areas, along with the Army Engineering Battalion, soldiers wield saws and hammer, buildings schools but putting up the labor counterpart to stretch government budget for school buildings.
Then, they also fix school fences, barangay halls, waiting sheds, put up tap water stands with their trowels and masonry skills, or they use no hunting knives but paintbrushes for painting jobs in government and public infrastructures needing these services.
Reeling from a past when soldiers were accused of being abusive and had indiscretions that are publicly known, the radical change has to happen in time, according to Captain KhadaffyTawantawan, Civil Military Officer of the 302ndIBde.
And yet just as the army has transformed its image into community workers as an avenue for peace work, their activities remain unknown and is filed only in military lockers.
With this, the brigade, which performs the administrative supervision of the army and citizens armed forces for geographical units in Bohol intends to bring these community empowerment accomplishments to the mainstream, and this time, becoming photojournalists would be a good start.
Along this, the brigade requested the Philippine Information Agency for the training, which the PIA also obliged.
Other than PIA basic media skills, which includes photojournalism which are offered for free, the PIA in Bohol also trains communities in literary, arts, sports and disseminates information on key government programs and projects. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)